The Electric Commentary

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

NFL Preview, Part 2: The AFC South

Tennesseein' is Tennebelievin'

Brett Favre is like Superman. (ed - Groan. What the heck is with the Brett Favre worship in the opening paragraph of a post on the AFC south? What gives?) Pipe down ed, if that is in fact your real name. I'm not talking about ability here, I'm talking about durability. Most of the time, Superman is never in any real danger. Sure, he takes some big hits now and then, but Superman knows that most of the villains he encounters will be unable to do him any harm. Favre's consecutive games streak is impressive, but a lot of good fortune and physical talent helped him out. Very good offensive lines protected him well. His armstrength allows him to throw off his back foot, reducing the risk of having to step into an onrushing defender. Sure, Favre gets hit, but he only rarely takes that "Oooh" kind of hit.

In the AFC South we find another tough as nails QB in Steve McNair of the Tennessee Titans. McNair is less like Superman, and more like Rocky Balboa. Every time I see McNair play he takes at least one incredible hit, but he always (well, usually) gets up, sucks it up, and keep playing even better. Where Superman is invulnerable, Rocky simply manages to endure all sorts of physical pain that would have most men crying and begging for mercy.

Steve McNair is about to endure Ivan Drago for the second year in a row, and it's probably not going to be pretty. The Titans have been hamstrung by injuries and by the salary cap, and look to be in rebuilding mode. Some people think that their offense will still be productive, but I just don't see it.

Drew Bennet has shown flashes of brilliance, that much is true, but will he be able to perform at that level consistently, without Derrick Mason around? And can Tyrone Calico be an adequate number two man?

Maybe, but their two QBs (and they will use both of them) won't have much time to get them the ball, and the oft injured Chris Brown and overrated Travis Henry won't provide much in the way of a rushing attack.

They still boast a few quality defenders like Keith Bulluck, but I don't recognize a lot of their players. They still have Craig Hentrich, which is nice, and Jeff Fisher is a great coach, but there is little talent here. They'll be bottom feeders and out of the playoffs.

If that didn't convince you, here are the Titans first six games:
@St. Louis

Maybe if they would have acquired a few offensive linemen instead of an extra RB. Oh well.

I like the new Houston team much better that the old Houston team. The Texans look like they're ready to take a step forward, and they'd better, because patience with David Carr is likely wearing thin. If Steve McNair is Rocky, David Carr may best be described as a punching bag. While Rocky chooses to step in front of those punches, David Carr is basically stuck out there on his own with a bunch of guys who want to put a whoopin' on him, so to speak.

The Texans didn't do much to improve their line, unfortunately (after a failed run at Orlando Pace), so I'm not sure why I'm so bullish on them. I suppose it is because I expect that their skill players will develop a bit more. Carr can now be considered a veteran, Dom Davis should be peaking, and the talented Andre Johnson has now had a year to develop a rapport with Carr and to completely learn the system. I also think that Jacksonville will fall back a bit, and Houston will be the beneficiary. However, they miss the playoffs in the strong AFC.

Let's talk Jacksonville, and another young QB, Byron Leftwich. He's a solid thrower, and he has shown flashes of greatness occasionally, but he doesn't have many weapons. Sort of like McGuyver. But even McGuyver had a Swiss Army knife. Byron's tools are old (Jimmy Smith) and broken down (Fragile Freddy, back to his fragile ways after an extended period of good fortune). The Jags were somewhat successful last year at slowing the game down and limiting the other team's possessions. Their defense is solid, but I don't think it's quite at the elite level.

This is precisely why I think they will have some difficulties. I still don't think they will be able to score, so the burden will once again fall on the defense, and and I think they face some pretty tough offenses.

To be honest I don't really have a good handle on this team. They've yet to impress me but they seem to pull out some good wins every year, and this year will probably be no different, but I think they do it with smoke and mirrors, and this year, they'll end up just behind the Texans.

One team I do understand is the Colts. Great offense, so-so defense. What more do you need to know? If they could put together some semblance of a respectable defense they would find themselves in the Super Bowl. But, they haven't. The offense will probably come back down to earth a bit, but this is still a great team, at least in the regular season. But right now Peyton Manning is closer to Sisyphus than he is to any superhero.

The fact that I don't have much to say about the Colts speaks volumes. (And sentences like that are a good way to avoid doing any research.) They are largely unchanged, and I expect the result to be largely unchanged. They'll win the division and lose, probably to the Patriots, in the AFC Championship game. But I'll have playoff predictions later.

Tomorrow: The NFC West: How bad is it?


  • Speaking of Superman, I just saw the Family Guy where Peter is in hell and he sees Superman and asks what he's doing there. Superman says he killed a hooker for making a crack about him being faster than a speeding bullet. Great stuff. I'm really glad I've become a Family Guy fan in the past month.

    Oh, football...It's hard to see the Colts not winning the AFC South, barring an injury to Manning, who has a pretty incredible consecutive games streak of his own. I think most people are a lot higher on the Texans than I am. I keep hearing people talk about how David Carr is a good young quarterback, and I just don't see what he's done to justify that.

    By Blogger MDS, at 3:28 PM  

  • Love The Family Guy. Great stuff. And jaw droppingly offensive. I haven't seen that one, but I've been catching up on DVD. Have you seen "movie" making the rounds on the net? Ace had a clip posted the other day. Like watching the show if it was made for HBO.

    I may have fallen victim to the hype in Houston myself, but I do think they're better than the Titans, and I'm really not wowed by the Jags, so they sort of fell into a default position. If I'm wrong and they suck horribly I won't be shocked.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 4:36 PM  

  • Here's the deal with Jacksonville: Very good defense. Unfortunately the offense depends highly on Fragile Freddie Taylor. If he his healthy it rests the defense & opens up a passing game that revolves around the 36 year old Jimmy Smith. If Taylor is no longer cursed, the pass attack has some potential as Jac. has a WR in his magical 3rd year, expect him to step up. Reggie Williams, I think he is. So if Taylor plays all year, they have the classic Pittsburgh-Baltimore, good D, good run and could do well.

    What Carr has done is had a horrible, horrible o-line, started as a rookie, and not only survived, but put up decent numbers.

    Favre has had the benefit of some pretty good o-lines over the past few years, but early/middle of his career he got a lot of pressure (good guards bad tackles). The arm-strength/back foot thing is huge, but Favre also has very good pocket sense and elusiveness.

    That said, McNair also used to like to run & run over over people. He will still put his head down. Favre hasn't done this in years.

    By Anonymous Scott H, at 4:49 PM  

  • I have to agree - my Titans made a rather silly acquisition in Henry. I was getting close to buying the popular theme around town that they won't be as bad as feared, but then I saw that schedule. It's going to be an ugly year, I'm afraid. They didn't shore up their biggest holes, and started to let Bud Adams make player decisions. Bad ideas all around.

    And Peyton as Sisyphus is brilliant.

    By Blogger Mike, at 8:39 PM  

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